Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Hey, Aren't You...

My day-to-day life revolves around 30th Street Station here in Philly, at the crossroads of regional and local rail. My daily path takes me in the line of fire of the taxi line, in which I have to look for speeding taxis with new passengers, and speeding taxis having just dropped off passengers.

Yesterday, I look over at this line and see a vaguely familiar face attempting to cram huge road cases into the trunk of one of these taxis. Wait, that's Dan Wilson! For someone a lot less obsessive, it would mean Dan Wilson of Semisonic, the guy that wrote "Closing Time." For someone a little less obsessive, it would mean Dan Wilson, co-writer of the grammy award winning song "Not Ready To Make Nice" by the Dixie Chicks. But for me, it would mean Dan Wilson, producer of Mike Doughty's first major solo record, as well as solo artist on Rick Rubin's American Recordings.

I walk up and sheepishly ask "Excuse me, are you Dan Wilson?" 99.9% sure, he says "Yes, I am" rather distracted by the task of cramming said oblong boxes into the trunk. I reply "I am a big fan of your work, nice to meet you" and go in for a handshake. With that, I turn and walk away, headed for my train.

That's it, when you meet people you admire and you're not just Mr. Fanboy, it's kind of awkward. You don't want to let the moment slip without letting them know you know who they are, but your anonymity is a challenge to them, and they instantly have to navigate the possibilities. Especially if they're somewhat "It" at the moment (a grammy, plus a new record "Free Life" which by all reports is stellar), I can only imagine that a stranger on the street could be a) someone from the venue coming to pick you up b) that guy who keeps on showing up asking for the secrets to the universe or c) someone approaching you to co-write songs. Man, I wish our society was more like that "Sorry I was late, I had to co-write a song with a big dude whose ipod wouldn't turn off"

And what band was I listening to?
Queens of the Stone Age.


I do own "Feeling Strangely Fine" though, and just gave it a spin last week.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Yes, Master!

We got the masters back from, uh, mastering. It hasn't been tracked out yet, but upon converting the torrent back to listenable form, I am blown away by this black magic. Mr. Burleigh Seaver, my hats off to you and your dark arts! We've yet to finalize it, and will have to wait for Burleigh to get back in town.

Speaking of which, to our friends on the west coast, his band Shortstack are doing a string of dates out there starting later this week. Please check them out, tell them we said hello!

Should I admit to seeing the Smashing Pumpkins on this latest tour? I was all excited until actually being at the show. Some of the new stuff occupies the same sonic space with very little emotional resonance, though admittedly, it's my fault for not knowing it as well as everything up to 1998. Moreover, take this at face value, Billy's guitar and vocals completely drowned out the rest of the band. When you combine that with the rest of the band high tailing it off stage after the final encore to leave Billy eating up the ovation, you start connecting what this thing is really about, and sadly, that's not the way I remember it.

Good thing my obsession moved on to a band that will most likely never get back together. And this one, that can't.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Anchorage at Velvet Lounge

Our friends Anchorage (you might remember them as Eastern Homes or Sad Bastard) are playing Velvet Lounge in D.C. this coming Saturday night, October 20 prolly around 9pm. Go check them out. They've changed their instrumentation around a little, and opened up lots of spaces in their songs. One more time: go check them out!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Currently Listening to...

Stan Getz Bossa Nova.

Not to be a shill, but does it get any better than this? Holy crap, it takes me a couple of years to lose this record and then rediscover it. Verve put out this compilation in 1996, and it makes for some of the best foreground/background music I have in my collection. Some of the songs are flawlessly studio-sounding, only to have an audience clapping politely at the end. Might be studio chicanery (a la "Live at the Club" by Cannonball Adderly), but I somehow doubt it.

Makes me really want to master my nylon-stringed guitar. Sure, he is a appropriating a musical movement from Brazil, but he is doing so incorporating them into the fold. Astrud Gilberto's voice must be responsible for millions of children, much like Barry White. A friend of mine posted a blog commenting on Russia's "sex day" as a way to encourage population growth.

Russia, meet Brazil.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

DJ Adequate for Sunbeams

I didn't even have a chance to post that I had been asked to do a charity DJ set in DC before already being back from it. Wow.

We were raising money for an organization called the Sunbeam Foundation, which some friends created after the passing of their friend a few years back to a rare, pediatric brain cancer. Check it out, you can still make donations if you would like.

The event was at Indeblue (in the shadows of the Verizon Center (aka MCI Center in my day, man, can them corporations merge or what!) and I set up in an actual DJ booth. Too bad I didn't have needles for the turntables (or actual records for that matter!) but I did my set live mixtape style. No matching beats, no genre cohesion. Part chaos. Part order. Dig.

We raised somewhere in the ballpark of $1000 before tallying the cut of the bar. Thank you for your support!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

This Is Your Brain on Music

Started a book called "This Is Your Brain On Music" by Daniel J. Levitin. Have to say, when he got into the part in the beginning about the notes Miles Davis is not playing in Kind of Blue, I immediately stopped reading and put it on the iPod. Immediately I felt an urge to listen to the Dismemberment Plan. Something about mathiness and rock equals the Plan, always.

Last weekend Jim came up and we got a few good rehearsals in. Jon is ramping up with the songs nicely, so much so that we are on the cusp of bringing a fourth into the fold to fill out the songs. We have been a trio since we decided not to be a duo, so being a quartet is completely mind blowing.

We ran through the album mixes deep headphone-style, after one of the practices, and did a few fixes after flying blind for a while. It was kind of like being the only one who can land the airplane, following instructions by a pilot on the ground (we called Nick while he was on his way to work!) Turns out some of the stuff I did was right, turns out some of the other stuff I did was not so right. Either way, we smoothed out some of the kinks, and now the record is on it's way to mastering again!

Album art is coming along as well. Some goodies are being developed in addition to the record, so hopefully the launch will go off without a hitch. The website will also get an overhaul, and will devolve further into internet absurdity. I just get so tired of all the websites looking the same. We are not a gloss and sheen band. We are a roll of duct tape and a coat hanger band. Feel it.

thanks for reading,